I am not one of your little friends.

Should parents strictly be the parent, or should they be their child’s friend too?

I was watching a video where an influencer was explaining how he was raised and the effect it had on him as an adult. He went on to explain how his parents were strict disciplinarians. As he grew into an adult, they didn’t know anything about him. “My parents raised me to not show emotion, affection, or fear.” “They were not loving at all.” That is one of the reasons my ass in therapy now.” Wow! Many individuals in the black and brown community were raised like this. Too many have lived this familiar tale, which is why I was inspired to dig deeper into this topic. There is a thin line between being a parent and being a friend. Good parenting prepares a child for succeeding in life without you. A parent is there to protect, teach, and guide their children. Most importantly, a parent is there to love their child. Children do better when their parents show affection. When you focus solely on being more of an enforcer, as a parent, you emotionally neglect your child. When you are not working dynamically as a nurturer, you are most likely risking your child not maturing into a responsible adult. There must be a balance.

Being your child’s friend can be misinterpreted. Being a friend doesn’t mean you’re not the authority figure anymore. It means that you are allowing your child to come to you with anything. You need to create a safe space for your child where they trust you. Parents can build close personal relationships with their children and remain the responsible adult and authority figure. You must give your children mutual respect and loyalty. Explain why it is essential to follow the rules. Don’t let the thought of being your child’s friend cause neglectful parenting. Be open and nurturing, but also be the leader of the household. Be a role model for your child and raise them responsibly. In my opinion, no parent should only function as a provider. I don’t believe anyone should strictly be a parent and not also be a friend. If that’s how you view parenting, then you shouldn’t have any children. I’m just saying. Be their backbone. Be emotionally supportive. Let them know you’ll always have their back, but check them when they’re wrong. Stay in tune with your children. There are so many cases of child molestation and abuse where children are scared to confide in their parents. Generate a safety net so we can break those chains and reverse the damage of feeling as if we can’t talk to our parents when there is something wrong.

We need to change the narrative relating to toxic parenting in our community. Break the cycle and create more functioning adults with less emotional weight on their shoulders due to bad parenting and nurturing. It is ok to be strict, work hard to provide, but show us that you love us too. The love showed, or lack of love shown, sets the tenor for our adult relationships.

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